In a bid to wipe the stigma of Jammu and Kashmir as one of the most corrupt states in the country, Governor Satyapal Malik has ordered setting up of an anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in the state. Units of the ACB will be set up in all districts of the state to tackle corruption in a more effective and meaningful manner.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his day-long visit to Srinagar on Wednesday, had announced that effective steps will be taken to weed out corruption from the state.

The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met in Srinagar on Thursday under the chairmanship of Malik, gave the nod for setting up the first-ever ACB in the state.

Till now, the state did not have any agency to check and keep an eye on corrupt practices. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his public rallies here, had also expressed concern over the issue of corruption.

Previous Governor NN Vohra made efforts to activate an anti-corruption setup but met little success.

Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said the establishment of full-fledged ACB would do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism operational in the state.

Subrahmanyam said that with a view to providing clean, transparent, and people-centric governance, the Governor’s Administration recognised the need to tackle the menace of corruption as critical to good governance in the state. To achieve this, strengthening of the Anti-Corruption Laws and the Vigilance Organisation based on the best models in the country has been accorded top priority.

He said, in the State at present, there is a Vigilance Organisation which implements various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat, 2006. There is a State Vigilance Commission also. Under the existing setup, many shortcomings have been noticed which hamper the effective implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Laws, adding that the establishment of ACB would do away with the shortcomings in the existing anti-corruption mechanism and make it more effective in tackling corruption.

Giving details, the Chief Secretary said that based on careful analysis and study of the models of various states, in particular, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, a new apparatus under the nomenclature Anti-Corruption Bureau is to be set up in J&K.

“For this, amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat, 2006 and Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011 have been approved to give the Anti-Corruption Bureau more teeth to deal with complaints of corruption and take these to their logical end,” he said.